Los Angeles: Armed with an arrest warrant, Los Angeles detectives quickly found their murder suspect, 45-year-old Sheila Burton, in Skid Row yesterday, not far from the original site where Burton shot a man over 13 years earlier. That man, Markie Anderson, 44, had continued to live on Skid Row as a paraplegic since that fateful night July 30, 1994. Anderson died September 20, 2007 after being admitted to California Hospital for dizziness and gastric pain.
"This is an infrequent occurrence," said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, head of LAPD Central Detective Division. "But once the coroner tied Mr. Anderson’s death to the shooting that crippled him, his death became a homicide."
The term cited in the postmortem examination was sequelae, which means the man’s death followed from his original wound. In essence, Anderson’s life was cut short significantly by the gunshot wound and paralysis.
Sheila Burton was convicted of shooting Anderson in the back near 5th and Crocker Streets, and she served five years in State prison for aggravated assault. Detectives in 1994 found Burton based on a small lead that the shooter was nicknamed "Chocolate." Anderson identified her picture. Detectives found Burton in the Los Angeles County Jail two months after the shooting. She had been charged with narcotics violations. Burton admitted to shooting Anderson at the time, but claimed he was trying to rob her. Her statement appeared self-serving, and it did not fit the evidence.
"It’s an interesting commentary on the Skid Row subculture that Burton and Anderson were still living on Skid Row all these years after the shooting, assailant and victim in close proximity to each other with no apparent problems," Vernon said. "One thing has changed since that time: there are far fewer guns on Skid Row now than before."
Anderson’s death will be tied to crime statistics for 2007, raising the number of homicides downtown this year to five, still five fewer than the previous year. Detectives have cleared every homicide this year with an arrest of a suspect.
Lieutenant Vernon may be reach at 213-972-1203.